Two Degrees of Separation Rule

One of the hardest things for aspiring journalists to do is approach strangers and convince them to reveal their deepest secrets, desires, and worries. It’s hard to ask strangers personal questions. But this is what journalists do. What better way of getting used to this difficult task than to do it over and over again. Repetition is the best cure in this instance. If you’re serious about journalism, you must talk to people outside of your circle. This may mean getting outside of your comfort zone, but you can look at this positively as an adventure. Trekking territory you have never seen before. The most credible stories are those in which the reporter has wandered out of her own perspective and examined a multitude of other perspectives.

Journalism students cannot use family members or friends as sources in stories. We recommend at least two degrees of separation from your sources. We also recommend you pull from a diverse pool of sources. In diversity we’re talking about diversity in beliefs and political ideology, in race, culture and heritage, in religious background and practices, in class, in sexual orientation, and in family background. Your stories should reflect the community we are in. If you need help diversifying your stories, ask an instructor or faculty adviser.